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Snapchat May Need to Explore New Opportunities for AR Development

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Snapchat May Need to Explore New Opportunities for AR Development

What comes next for Snapchat, which is still hugely popular with younger users, and is growing at a solid rate, but is also struggling to maximize revenue, and offset its rising costs, amid tougher economic conditions?

This year, Snap has been forced to cut hundreds of jobs, and shelve some of its more ambitious projects due to these cost pressures. And despite adding more than 30 million more active users, taking it above 400 million DAU for the first time, it’s struggled to grow in North America and Europe, the regions where it generates the majority of its income (on a per user basis).

That still means that Snap has a lot of future revenue potential in emerging markets, but they’re also not bringing in a heap of money for the platform right now. And while it’s also been able to supplement its income with the rising popularity of its Snapchat+ subscription offering, which is now up to 7 million paying members, that’s still only a minor contributor to its overall business intake. At 7m subscribers, Snap will be bringing in around $81m per quarter from Snapchat+. Snapchat generated $1.189 billion overall in Q3 this year.

So with reduced resources limiting its capacity to innovate, and a need to maximize its revenue intake, where does Snap go from here?

I had assumed that Snap had an ace in the hole, via its industry-leading AR development. Virtually every AR trend has originated from Snap, and with its expanded AR creation tools, and next-level experience, it had seemed like Snap would be best placed to capitalize on the rising interest in augmented reality experiences, emerging from new AR wearables in development.

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Snap, of course, is still seemingly set to release its own AR glasses, with a fully-fledged AR version of Spectacles currently in limited testing, which they’ve been developing for over two years. That’s always looked like where Snap was eventually headed, but increased production costs, and reduced spending flexibility, do seem to have at least reduced its options here too, with an actual consumer release of AR Spectacles seemingly not on the horizon at this stage.

So what does Snap do? Does it make a push anyway, in the hopes of beating out Meta and Apple in the AR wearables race, or have their projects already superseded Spectacles, reducing its capacity to generate real money from AR glasses.

That does seem to be what’s coming into view, as Meta continues to advances its Ray Ban sunglasses, which are now looking more and more like the clear leader in the space.

Sure, Apple also has its $3,499 Vision Pro headset incoming, but it’s a) tethered to a processing device, and b) ridiculously expensive.

That makes Meta’s Ray Bans more appealing, while they also look a lot better than Snap’s current AR Spectacles.

Ray Ban Stories vs Snap Spectacles

Yeah, stylistically, they’re not great, and if Meta can actually make a better-looking, functional AR headset, which look much like regular sunglasses, I don’t know that Snap will be able to compete, even if it can get its AR glasses to a commercial-release stage.

The next obvious step then would be for Snap to partner with third parties, bringing its AR knowledge to other devices and systems.

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Snap’s already partnered with Apple on its AR developments, helping it test out advanced AR tools for the iPhone at different times, while The Information reported this week that Snap’s also been in talks with OpenAI about integrating ChatGPT like functionality into its AR Spectacles.

Which would replicate how Meta’s building conversational AI functionality into its glasses.

Ray Ban Stories

That also suggests that Snap is still developing its AR Spectacles, but it could also be the precursor to a broader partnership with OpenAI, and chief investor Microsoft, to boost Snap’s push into the AR wearables race.

Which is seemingly what Snap really needs. As an independent entity, Snap looks sustainable, and even set for growth in some areas. The problem is, Snap needs more money to develop its bigger projects right now, and for that, maybe partnering with another player could be a more viable option.

Either way, it has to move fast. If Meta’s able to release functional, fashionable AR glasses before Snap, that’ll tank the value of AR Spectacles, especially if Snap’s eventual device ends up being more expensive, and not as good as Meta’s Ray Bans.

Without a partner, I don’t see how Snap will be able to compete. But via partnership, Snap could capitalize on its lead in the AR space, and become a critical platform as it moves to the next stage.

There doesn’t appear to be anything imminent as yet, but I would be keeping an eye out for future AR partnership news from Evan Spiegel and crew.

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

In a recent announcement, Snapchat revealed a groundbreaking update that challenges its traditional design ethos. The platform is experimenting with an option that allows users to defy the 24-hour auto-delete rule, a feature synonymous with Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging model.

The proposed change aims to introduce a “Never delete” option in messaging retention settings, aligning Snapchat more closely with conventional messaging apps. While this move may blur Snapchat’s distinctive selling point, Snap appears convinced of its necessity.

According to Snap, the decision stems from user feedback and a commitment to innovation based on user needs. The company aims to provide greater flexibility and control over conversations, catering to the preferences of its community.

Currently undergoing trials in select markets, the new feature empowers users to adjust retention settings on a conversation-by-conversation basis. Flexibility remains paramount, with participants able to modify settings within chats and receive in-chat notifications to ensure transparency.

Snapchat underscores that the default auto-delete feature will persist, reinforcing its design philosophy centered on ephemerality. However, with the app gaining traction as a primary messaging platform, the option offers users a means to preserve longer chat histories.

The update marks a pivotal moment for Snapchat, renowned for its disappearing message premise, especially popular among younger demographics. Retaining this focus has been pivotal to Snapchat’s identity, but the shift suggests a broader strategy aimed at diversifying its user base.

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This strategy may appeal particularly to older demographics, potentially extending Snapchat’s relevance as users age. By emulating features of conventional messaging platforms, Snapchat seeks to enhance its appeal and broaden its reach.

Yet, the introduction of message retention poses questions about Snapchat’s uniqueness. While addressing user demands, the risk of diluting Snapchat’s distinctiveness looms large.

As Snapchat ventures into uncharted territory, the outcome of this experiment remains uncertain. Will message retention propel Snapchat to new heights, or will it compromise the platform’s uniqueness?

Only time will tell.

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

While it is tempting to try to appeal to a broad audience, the founder of alcohol-free coaching service Just the Tonic, Sandra Parker, believes the best thing you can do for your business is focus on your niche. Here’s how she did just that.

When running a business, reaching out to as many clients as possible can be tempting. But it also risks making your marketing “too generic,” warns Sandra Parker, the founder of Just The Tonic Coaching.

“From the very start of my business, I knew exactly who I could help and who I couldn’t,” Parker told My Biggest Lessons.

Parker struggled with alcohol dependence as a young professional. Today, her business targets high-achieving individuals who face challenges similar to those she had early in her career.

“I understand their frustrations, I understand their fears, and I understand their coping mechanisms and the stories they’re telling themselves,” Parker said. “Because of that, I’m able to market very effectively, to speak in a language that they understand, and am able to reach them.” 

“I believe that it’s really important that you know exactly who your customer or your client is, and you target them, and you resist the temptation to make your marketing too generic to try and reach everyone,” she explained.

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“If you speak specifically to your target clients, you will reach them, and I believe that’s the way that you’re going to be more successful.

Watch the video for more of Sandra Parker’s biggest lessons.

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

Instagram’s testing out some new options to help spice up your live-streams in the app, with some live broadcasters now able to select a game that they can play with viewers in-stream.

As you can see in these example screens, posted by Ahmed Ghanem, some creators now have the option to play either “This or That”, a question and answer prompt that you can share with your viewers, or “Trivia”, to generate more engagement within your IG live-streams.

That could be a simple way to spark more conversation and interaction, which could then lead into further engagement opportunities from your live audience.

Meta’s been exploring more ways to make live-streaming a bigger consideration for IG creators, with a view to live-streams potentially catching on with more users.

That includes the gradual expansion of its “Stars” live-stream donation program, giving more creators in more regions a means to accept donations from live-stream viewers, while back in December, Instagram also added some new options to make it easier to go live using third-party tools via desktop PCs.

Live streaming has been a major shift in China, where shopping live-streams, in particular, have led to massive opportunities for streaming platforms. They haven’t caught on in the same way in Western regions, but as TikTok and YouTube look to push live-stream adoption, there is still a chance that they will become a much bigger element in future.

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Which is why IG is also trying to stay in touch, and add more ways for its creators to engage via streams. Live-stream games is another element within this, which could make this a better community-building, and potentially sales-driving option.

We’ve asked Instagram for more information on this test, and we’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

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